Monday, May 27, 2024

Reading for enjoyment, as a writer, an open book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

How do you turn off your internal editor when you are reading for enjoyment?


It can be difficult, once you "know how the sausage is made" to gloss over errors, inconsistencies, and less-than-stellar stylistic choices in someone else's work like you might have done when you were "just a reader." This is especially difficult in sloppy work, where you start to wonder if the author tried anything at all, like spell check or Grammarly? 

Honestly, I've always been a fairly judgey reader in that regard: I expect good writing in published books. It has gotten worse since I started doing it myself, though. 

I get super annoyed by poor craftsmanship, because author life is hard enough without people half-assing self-publishing and making it that much harder for everyone to get readers to give indie-published work a fair shake. Readers who have been burned by poor quality work with minimal editing are less likely to reach for indie work in the future, so it hurts us all. 

image source

But, I can usually achieve a state of immersion and become "just a reader" again, and if I can't…well, I don't have to finish every book I start. 

I do a lot of my reading these days as audiobooks, so that helps a little. I can't see the words on the page and a good narrator can smooth out rough patches. Sometimes a good narrator can take a merely good book and make it great, or take a mediocre book and make it good.  So, that's part of it, for sure. 

Sometimes, it's an act of will, reminding myself I'm not providing a critique or a beta read, but just reading. If the story is working, it'll pull me in and my inner critic will quiet down and let me enjoy. 

If I can't achieve that feeling of immersion, then I usually set the book aside and figure it's not for me, or at least not for me right now. Sometimes the reason I can't immerse into a story has nothing to do with quality, but about my own state of mind and stage of life, or even just that I've read too much of the same sort of thing in a row. 

How about you? If you write, do you find it harder to lose yourself in reading now? What pulls you out of that feeling of immersion? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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  1. I like your description of reading a good book as 'immersion." It can be a hard state of mind to achieve.

    1. It can! It's definitely harder than it used to be.

  2. When I'm in the "zone", nothing jars more than a typo.